Tag: text

Dan Andrews’ secret text messages on the disastrous hotel quarantine program FINALLY made public

Secret text messages sent by Daniel Andrews to his chief of staff about Victoria’s hotel quarantine have been released by the inquiry into the botched program.

The phone records between the Victorian premier and his right-hand woman Lissie Ratcliff were made public on Friday after additional evidence was provided to the inquiry.   

The then Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Chris Eccles – who resigned as Victoria’s top public servant last month – has also had his phone records released by the inquiry.

Text messages between Mr Andrews and Ms Ratcliff on the evening of March 27 show him telling her to expect updates on logistics of hotel quarantine, such as rooms available, transportation and guidelines for travellers. 

Secret text messages sent by Daniel Andrews to his chief of staff about Victoria's hotel quarantine program have been released. Mr Andrews pictured addressing the media on Thursday

Secret text messages sent by Daniel Andrews to his chief of staff about Victoria’s hotel quarantine program have been released. Mr Andrews pictured addressing the media on Thursday

‘How are we going on hotels and midnight tomorrow? Do we have many flights tomorrow. Call if you need to,’ A text from Mr Andrews at 8.26pm said.

Ms Ratcliff replied: ‘I’ll have updates tonight on number of rooms, transportation, guidelines for leaving rooms, protection for workers, number of expected arrivals [and flights] for Sunday.

‘It’ll only apply to flights landing after midnight so anyone coming in during the day won’t be caught up.

‘Will get you an update as soon as it comes through.’

A summary of the March 27 national cabinet meeting by Department of Health and Human Services bureaucrat Nicole Lynch was mentioned throughout the new tranche of documents, particularly the line: ‘Enforcement by S and T governments keen for police not to babysit but called in as need (eg use private security)’.

Mr Andrews said in his sworn statement he did not take this to be a decision about private security and therefore did not pass it on.

‘Decisions of that kind are of an operational nature in which I do not play a role,’ he wrote.

Former police commissioner Graham Ashton told the inquiry it was Mr Eccles who led him to believe private security would be used.

Staff pictured at Melbourne's Stamford Hotel quarantine facility on June 25. Ex-top Victorian civil servant Chris Eccles has also had his phone records made public

Staff pictured at Melbourne’s Stamford Hotel quarantine facility on June 25. Ex-top Victorian civil servant Chris Eccles has also had his phone records made public

The ex-police chief’s recollection of a phone call at 1.17 pm on March 27 was detailed in a fresh sworn statement tendered to the inquiry on Friday.

It was one of a raft of documents called for by the inquiry in a final attempt to nail down who made the decision that ultimately led to Victoria’s second coronavirus wave.

Mr Ashton wrote that he and Mr Eccles spoke for 136 seconds following a meeting of the national cabinet.

‘At least part of this conversation involved Mr Eccles informing me regarding the potential use of the ADF to guard returned travellers during the transfer from their flights and the use of private security to guard them at the hotels,’ he wrote.

‘But my belief as to what

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Friend of man who died after falling from Queensland hotel balcony sent a text message to friends

Best friend of man who died after falling 15m from a hotel balcony sent a desperate two-word text message to friends – as it’s revealed what he did in the minutes leading up to his death

  • Seth James Luhrs, 24, fell to his death from a seventh-floor hotel balcony in 2018
  • He had been staying with friends at a hotel in Cairns when he fell 15 metres
  • Mr Luhrs was sharing room with Sean Clift and the pair took drugs, inquest heard
  • Mr Clift bought drugs off a friend and sent a worrying message later that night

The best friend of a man who died after plunging from a seventh-floor hotel balcony sent a worrying message to friends after the fatal fall, an inquest has heard.

Seth James Luhrs, 24, had been staying with friends at the Rydges Esplanade Hotel in Cairns on April 1, 2018, when he fell 15m from his seventh-floor balcony and hit steel awnings on the first floor.

Mr Luhrs travelled with a group of friends to spend the Easter long weekend in Cairns and was sharing a room with Sean Clift, 21.

Seth James Luhrs (pictured), 24, died after plunging from a seventh-floor hotel balcony in 2018

Seth James Luhrs (pictured), 24, died after plunging from a seventh-floor hotel balcony in 2018

An inquest into the 24-year-old’s death on Wednesday heard Mr Luhrs and Mr Clift had taken LSD and MDMA, the Cairns Post reported.

Another friend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court Mr Clift bought LSD off him but he warned the pair not to take it because it was strong.

‘I want the tabs,’ Mr Clift told the friend when he entered his hotel room.

After the pair took the drugs, Mr Clift sent the friend multiple text messages begging him to return to the hotel.

He then sent a worrying message: ‘Seth’s dead.’

Mr Clift told the court he did not mean it literally and said it was ‘nothing serious’ because he thought ‘dead’ meant too drunk.

Footage of the moment three police officers entered the hotel room after the fall was played in court, showing Mr Clift sitting on his bed just before 2am.

In the video Mr Clift can be heard telling police he had just woken up and ‘didn’t know what the f**k was going on’.

Mr Luhrs had been staying with friends at the Rydges Esplanade Hotel (pictured) in Cairns on April 1, 2018, when he fell 15metres from his seventh-floor balcony

Mr Luhrs had been staying with friends at the Rydges Esplanade Hotel (pictured) in Cairns on April 1, 2018, when he fell 15metres from his seventh-floor balcony

Detective Senior Constable Jeremy Carter said they believed it was Mr Clift who had fallen at first because the night manager caught him walking around the foyer in just his underwear. 

Two years before his death, Mr Luhrs had been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, an ongoing condition that caused joint inflammation.

Mr Luhrs older brother, Zeb, told the court the condition did not change his brother’s ‘happy-go-lucky’ mindset.

An inquest into the 24-year-old's death on Wednesday heard Mr Luhrs and Mr Clift had taken LSD and MDMA

An inquest into the 24-year-old’s death on Wednesday heard

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